The purpose of Zofran is to control nausea and vomiting. According to WebMD, it is used by patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer, or taking cancer drugs that cause nausea. It is administered to surgical patients to prevent nausea and vomiting after surgery. Zofran is used to control vomiting in children with acute gastroenteritis (stomach flu). It is also used to treat the nausea and vomiting common during pregnancy.
Unfortunately, this drug has a long list of possible side effects, some of them dangerous and even life threatening. If you or someone you love has been seriously harmed by Zofran, speak with a dangerous drug lawyer at Farah & Farah. We are ready to fight big drug companies on your behalf.
How Zofran Works
Zofran works by blocking the action of serotonin, which is a key brain chemical, involved in the nausea response and many other functions of the body. This drug is a selective serotonin antagonist, which means that it blocks only part of the serotonin action.
Zofran Serious Side Effects
Zofran side effects range from less serious (tell your doctor if symptoms worsen) to extremely serious (get medical attention immediately). The FDA approved Zofran for public consumption, then it issued safety warnings in 2011 and 2012 and recalled the 32 mg intravenous dosage in December 2012, stating that this drug may affect “QT interval prolongation” (the heart’s electrical activity) and predispose patients to abnormal and potentially fatal heart rhythms. Symptoms of this serious side effect, as listed by the FDA, include:
- Shortness of breath
- Irregular heartbeat
The Mayo Clinic, however, reports a long list of symptoms of serious side effects associated with this drug, in addition to those listed by the FDA, including:
- More common: Confusion, fast heartbeat, fever, headache, weakness.
- Less common: Painful urination, difficulty urinating, decrease in urine volume or urination frequency.
- Rare: Pain in the arm, back, or jaw; tightness, heaviness, pain, or discomfort in the chest; difficulty swallowing; difficulty breathing; dry mouth; cough; convulsions; loss of appetite; loss of bladder control; increased thirst; mood changes, muscle cramps or pain; nausea or vomiting; tingling or numbness in the lips, hands, or feet; unconsciousness; rash, hives, or itching of the skin; swelling or puffiness of the face, lips, tongue, eyelids, or around the eyes; noisy breathing; sweating; jerking of the entire body; wheezing; unusual tiredness.
- Unknown incidence: Blurred vision; lightheadedness, faintness, or dizziness when getting up suddenly from lying down; hoarseness; heart stops; fixed position of the eye; inability to move the eyes; blinking and eyelid spasms; no pulse or blood pressure; no breathing; large hive-like swelling on the hands, feet, legs, sex organs, lips, tongue, throat, face, or eyelids; uncontrolled twisting of the neck, arms, legs, or trunk; difficult speaking; pounding heartbeat; sweating; tongue sticking out; unusual facial expressions.
In addition to the symptoms of serious side effects listed above, Mayo Clinic also lists less serious common side effects of Zofran that may go away as your body adjusts to the medication, including:
- Dry mouth
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty moving bowels
Use of Zofran During Pregnancy
Many pregnant women suffer from “morning sickness,” nausea and vomiting that occurs intermittently, particularly during the first few months of pregnancy, and not necessarily in the morning. Although Zofran has been commonly prescribed for morning sickness, there are health risks associated with taking this drug during pregnancy.
A study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) found that many women have electrolyte imbalances during pregnancy. As the FDA cautioned against the use of this drug for patients with electrolyte abnormalities, the study concluded that Zofran should not be used for nausea and vomiting during pregnancy until other, less dangerous drugs were tried first, and then, only with caution.
Of even greater concern is the Anderson study, conducted in Denmark and published in August 2013, in which researchers found double the risk of major congenital heart defects when this drug was taken during the first trimester of pregnancy. In a study on treating morning sickness published by the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology (AJOG) in December 2014, researchers reported a 2-fold increased risk of infant cleft palate when ondansetron (Zofran) was taken during the first trimester.
If you or your loved one has been harmed by Zofran, call Farah & Farah today at (800) 533-3555 for a free consultation. We handle cases nationwide for people who have been harmed by this drug. When you work with our pharmaceutical litigation lawyers, you can have confidence that we will fight relentlessly for justice and compensation for you.